Taemon Blair was found March 14th in a semi cab truck that he operated, parked in the 9100 block of Bluffton Rd unresponsive. The death of the 21-year-old man who was reportedly found hanged in the sleeper portion of his tractor-trailer truck cabin in Fort Wayne, IN. The reports of his death have gone viral nationally across social media posts. The following week, the Allen Co. Coroner’s Office, on March 21st, said the 21-year-old, a Huntersville, North Carolina native, had died of asphyxia due to hanging and the death ruled a suicide.
Social media posts suggest that Blair did not die by suicide, yet that he was “lynched”. There is the implication by many of these social media posts that “black men do not hang themselves…” because of the historical context tied to hangings it is believed in the “black community” that black Americans do not suicide by hangings. The The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) statistical data reports, “Between 2000 and 2010, suicide by hanging/suffocation rose by 104% (i.e., more than doubled) for those aged 45–59 years and increased steadily in all other age groups except those aged ≥70 years (Table 1), for whom there was a small decline.”-(NCBI)
Hanging/suffocation is almost as lethal as firearm use as a means of suicide. The lack of an increase in case fatality rates indicates that the increase in mortality rates from suicide by hanging/suffocation is related to an increase in suicide attempts by this method. The dramatic increase in suicide by hanging in the U.S. is of special concern because of the widespread availability of rope and other accessories used in hanging. Prevention strategies that are effective within inpatient settings should be given greater attention for their potential to reduce suicide in other settings as well. Such strategies include installing break-away closet bars, lowering the height of anchor points, and increasing the awareness of risk indicators. –(NCBI, 2013)
The American Suicide Prevention Foundation (ASFP) reports, “In 2017, the highest U.S. age-adjusted suicide rate was among Whites (15.85) and the second highest rate was among American Indians and Alaska Natives (13.42). Much lower and roughly similar rates were found among Black or African Americans (6.61) and Asians and Pacific Islanders (6.59).
In 2017, firearms were the most common method of death by suicide, accounting for a little more than half (50.57%) of all suicide deaths. The next most common methods were suffocation (including hangings) at 27.72% and poisoning at 13.89%.”
Some posts have even gone as far as to say that he was beaten and hanged with his hands bound up but Allen County authorities have reported that as false.
This young man’s tragic end has gone as far to gain interest amongst popular celebrity artists like Clifford Harris Jr. aka T.I ., Big Boi, and Usher Raymonds.
On Thursday, the Allen County Coroner’s Office released a 4-page report in attempts to correct “inaccurate information being spread across social media.” The Onslow Beat has a general standard that follows the same guidelines as most MSM organizations and refrains from publishing articles with suicides with the exceptions of public places, government officials and public figures but in this case, due to the viral nature and the four-page report released, an exception has also been made in this case.
Taemon’s brother, Dee Smith, started a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for the burial. On the GFM, he stated,
“Taemon went through a rough patch in his life. He went to jail for a year. When he got out he promised to change his life. He went and got his diploma. He had straight A’s in HS. He has always been on the A honor roll. My brother finally got his life on track! He has a beautiful girlfriend. He also was having a baby. He landed a job driving 18 wheeler trucks. He went on the road to make money for his family. Now graduated with straight A’s, and a really good job, he was on the track of becoming a great man.”
Allen County Sheriff’s Office reported to Abby Jackson, no foul play suspected.
Smith full of pain and grief for his younger brother, told Fox46, “…there’s just a lot of unanswered questions for them to rule it a suicide…” Watch that clip here.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, there’s help for you, your life is valuable and most hardships are only temporary that there are solutions for. Don’t take a permanent measure to a temporary situation. Please call the National Suicide Hotline or utilize the online chat option and talk to someone, completely confidential.
Another article related to suicide and the black community worth the read: https://afro.com/suicide-not-just-white-thing/
Disclaimer: The Onslow Beat has a mission of providing information that may be beneficial in the prevention of suicides, mental health & wellness with this particular article regardless of what speculations, assumptions are made in this particular case. This is not an endorsement of stating in agreement or disagreement that Blair committed suicide but it is an acknowledgment that nonetheless, suicide is a real issue in the black community, as well as depression, PTSD and the Black Male. Many individuals in the black community are often forced to suppress feelings verses expressing them, discouraged from crying, discouraged from stating or feeling fear or merely saying, “I am not okay.” The Black community oftentimes shuns the idea of mental health and mental illness has been “taboo” and “a white thing” when in fact it is a human thing, there’s no discrimination in matters of mental illness and there should not be any in light of mental health and wellness. The Onslow Beat further has a moral and ethical responsibility to the public to provide the facts presented from authorities, statements from family or those relevant to the case, as well as provide unbiased and informative information to create betterment in our society as a whole through an independent press. The Onslow Beat wants the audience to read and think for yourself, not be swayed and programmed. That is the beauty of an independent FREE press.